On June 26, 2003, Dwyane Wade was taken fifth overall in the NBA Draft by the Miami Heat. I think I can speak for Marquette fans everywhere that we all hoped that the MU guard, fresh off leading the Golden Eagles to the program’s third ever Final Four appearance, would have a successful and productive career.
I don’t think any of us expected what we got.
What we got was 16 seasons — minus a 106 game detour through Chicago and Cleveland — of the best run in Miami Heat franchise history. A franchise that didn’t even win a playoff series until their ninth year of existence and had won just three playoff series in total before drafting Wade and was coming off their lowest win total since their first three years in the league suddenly became an NBA powerhouse. Wade’s first three years in the league took the team one step farther each season, culminating with the Heat’s first ever NBA Championship in 2006. Sure, they couldn’t quite hold the success together for the next few years, but coming off the 2008 Olympics, Wade recruited two of his Beijing teammates to join him in Miami and altered the course of the entire NBA. In the summer of 2010, LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined Wade with the Heat, leading to four straight NBA Finals appearances, including two more NBA Championships in 2012 and 2013.
After James left following the 2014 season and injuries took their toll on Wade, the Heat started to trail off a little bit, winning just one playoff series in the next five seasons. What did team president Pat Riley and head coach Erik Spoelstra do in the wake of Wade’s retirement in 2019? They turned their attention back to Marquette. With Philadelphia apparently more than happy to move on from him, Miami executed a sign and trade deal with the 76ers to bring MU’s very own Jimmy Butler to South Beach.
What has that move meant for the Heat?
An NBA Finals appearance in 2020, a #1 seed in the Eastern Conference in 2022 that ended with a conference finals playoff loss in seven games, and now, after Monday night, a second Finals appearance led by Butler here in 2023.
That’s seven NBA Finals appearances with three titles in 20 seasons — and one title still pending — following the selection of Dwyane Wade in the draft, all of this after reaching the conference finals just once in their first 15 years as a franchise. Oh, and we forgot to mention the brief 20 game appearance in a Miami uniform for Jae Crowder, the 2012 Big East Player of the Year, that just happened to coincide with the Heat going to the Finals in 2020. Oh, AND there’s Jamal Cain on a two-way contract this past season, appearing in 18 games for the Heat, although he was prevented from seeing action in the playoffs by way of his contract status.
I’m not going to tell you that Miami’s success is completely because they have relied upon Marquette developed superstars to make that happen….. but the connection between the two programs is undeniable at this point.
With that in mind, it only makes sense that Marquette celebrate the success of the Heat in some notable fashion, and if you read the title at the top of the page, you already know my idea.
It is time for Marquette to add a Miami Heat themed alternate jersey to the rotation.
Now, the first thing that’s popping into your head is “Hey, wait, as a fire-themed franchise, one of Miami’s primary colors is red, we can’t be having Marquette wearing a red and white jersey relative to the Rodents to the west!” You are right. That is not what I am saying.
What I am saying is that Marquette has a black alternate jersey, and that black jersey makes use of Championship Blue letters and numbers.
That jersey sure looks like it is pretty close to being one highlighting accent away from the City series uniforms that the Miami Heat wore as alternates in 2018-19.
Slap a thin neon pink border/drop shadow on that Championship Blue lettering and numbering on Marquette’s black uniforms, maybe swap the gold on the shorts and shoulders for neon pink as well, and BOOM, you’ve got yourself a Miami Heat tribute alternate.
Side bonus to this? You give Marquette a reason to be wearing black uniforms in the first place. The Golden Eagles have two truly iconic uniform looks, the gold set and the Championship Blue set. You have to have a Home Whites set just to have in your back pocket to avoid clashing with visiting teams just in case. Those three are great uniforms at worst. For the average television viewer, they can’t tell the difference between the black unis or the road navy blues, unless you’re aware that the black ones have the Championship Blue and the navys have gold lettering/numbering. They look identical otherwise, so why not take the black uniform that doesn’t quite fit with Marquette’s colors anyway and give it a little flair and a tip of the cap to the NBA franchise that’s so intertwined with former Golden Eagles?
Marquette decision makers, the ball is in your court. As luck would have it, Nike is the company that made those “Miami Vice” uniforms for the Heat, so call up whoever the contacts are in Oregon to get MU uniforming issues sorted out, and get this done. Heck, if you want to keep it super simple, keep the font from the Heat’s jerseys, change it from “Miami” to “Marquette,” and the whole thing works just as well.